BY KEN LITTLE
Would-be cattle rustlers were foiled Monday night after the owners of two cows heard the animals being loaded into a cattle trailer.
The attempted theft occurred in the 10500 block of Asheville Highway (Tennessee Rt. 70), sheriff's Sgt. David Beverly said in a report.
The two cows -- a "blonde" Jersey and a black Angus -- were grazing in a field near their owners' home.
At dusk on Monday, one of the owners "went outside as she normally does and yelled for the two cows so she could feed them some sweet feed, but the cows never did come to the fence," the report said.
The woman's daughter went outside and also began to yell for the cows to come, "and at some point noticed what looked like vehicle lights at the corner of the property near Rollins Ridge Road," the report said.
The daughter told deputies that she heard "what sounded like cows stomping on the floor of a cattle hauler and a man yell, 'Look out," the report said.
Less than a minute later, both cows "came running to the fence from the direction of the vehicle lights," the report added.
Both cows appeared to have rope marks on their legs and sides. One of the owners told deputies the Angus cow "appeared to have rope burns on the legs and sides," the report said.
Deputies were told the Angus "appeared to be bleeding on its right side like it had been shot with birdshot," the report said.
The owners were advised to have a veterinarian look at the cows.
"They didn't know who would try to harm or steal the cows," the report said.
Other information gathered by deputies indicates the cow-owners may have been subject to ongoing harassment.
The daughter told deputies that the day before the attempted theft of cattle, she received a call from a man she knows who "told her she needs to watch her cows, leading her to believe someone would try to take them," the report said.
After the theft attempt, the daughter would not divulge the name of the man, the report added.
During the past month, the tires on one resident's car were slashed, in addition to the tires on a four-wheel vehicle owned by the daughter, the report said.
Also in the past month, someone twice turned on a water faucet behind the house, flooding the yard.
The resident also reported the theft of a heat pump between Oct. 2 and Monday from a trailer they own in the 1200 block of Kitchen Branch Road.
The heat pump is valued at $1,000.
A pickup truck with a trailer is believed to have been used in the attempted cattle theft.
The incidents remain under investigation.